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LibrarySkills@UCL: Searching for information

A guide to search techniques and developing a search strategy for assignments, literature reviews and research.

Advanced searching techniques

Once you become more experienced at literature searching, or if you are carrying out a search for a systematic review, you might find some more advanced searching techniques are helpful.

The following pages provide information on


Sometimes using techniques can have an effect on any automatic functions carried out by certain databases. For example, using truncation symbols, or quotation marks will turn off automatic term mapping in PubMed, and disable automatic searching for word variations in Web of Science. If the use of search techniques gives you unexpected numbers of results, check the help pages to be sure you understand how the database you are using works.